Saint Michael’s companion uses his grandmother’s ledger to explore the role of black workers in Jim Crow, Louisiana

Field and factory work as acts of liberation: A Saint Michael’s College scholar uses his grandmother’s ledger to explore the role of black workers in Louisiana’s Jim Crow

Vermont Business Magazine A ledger documenting the daily activities of a black woman living in a segregated neighborhood of Shreveport, Louisiana after World War II guides the research of the woman’s granddaughter – a scholarship recipient from Saint Michael’s College – by providing a historical overview of work opportunities and practices available to black workers at the time.

Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, an African-American Edmundite Scholar in Saint Michael’s History Department and a doctoral candidate in Purdue University’s American Studies program, used the ledger kept by her grandmother to shed light on part of his thesis research.

The Northern Louisiana-born artist and Jackson, Mississippi alumna will present a public lecture titled “The Hands That Picked the Cotton: A Black Woman’s Work as Acts of Liberation in Separated Shreveport.” about his dissertation chapter, “The Work (Labor) House,” at a free event on campus and via Zoom on October 25.

According to Anderson-Douoning, the lived experiences of her grandmother, Mrs. Goldleana, are inextricably linked to the cotton and timber industries in Caddo Parish and believed to be interconnected with the labor organizing work done by ordinary people in Shreveport. She sees Ms. Goldleana’s various jobs – picking cotton, working in the chair factory, serving as a seamstress and storing food – as acts of freedom, not enslavement, because she did those things by choice. She also put to use the skills she brought with her when she emigrated to Shreveport from rural Louisiana.

“Ms. Goldleana’s work allowed her to create certain conditions and opportunities that gave birth to my life, literally, because she is my maternal grandmother,” Anderson-Douoning said.

She added, “I am aware that the subject matter and imagery of field work related to cotton production and African Americans doing this work has been used to demean and stereotype us and is often tied to the slavery in the southern United States. My lecture is not meant to trigger black people – it is to look at history and the everyday people who have worked to create the current conditions that exist within family units as well as work practices in the nation, especially black women who have left history. report of their work. »

The lecture focuses on a period after World War II leading up to 1960s civil rights activity in Shreveport, Louisiana, which was linked to other ongoing civil rights organizations in other parts of the Deep South. . At the time, Louisiana state laws required black residents to live in “All Black” or “Colored Only” neighborhoods. (Ms. Goldleana lived in the Hollywood neighborhood.)

Anderson-Douoning uses the “workhouse” as a conceptual space to house the story of Ms. Goldleana’s real-life work experiences and try to better understand her life and work during Jim Crow segregation in Louisiana between 1944 and 1957. ‘house of work’ This is where Ms. Goldleana’s work is deciphered, understood and presented as how she and other black residents chose to free themselves from the ‘second-class citizenship’ status attributed to black people during Jim Crow.

If you are going to:

  • When: Tuesday, October 25 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: McCarthy Arts Center Recital Hall, Saint Michael’s College
  • Register in advance for this webinar: Register at this link: https://smcvt.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EZH-MX8zQaSRcu_i17C90w
  • Cost: Free
  • More information: Anyone with questions about the presentation or concerns about the topic related to perceptions of Southern life and culture from a Black perspective can email Jolivette Anderson-Douoning at [email protected]

About St. Michael’s College

Saint Michael’s College, founded on principles of social justice and living lives of meaning and consequence, is a selective Catholic college located just outside of Burlington, Vermont, one of the nation’s top college towns. . Located between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, our tightly-knit community guarantees housing for four years and offers internationally respected liberal arts and an innovative purposeful learning program, preparing students for fulfilling careers and to meaningful lives. Young adults here grow intellectually, socially and morally, learning to be responsible for themselves, each other and their world.

COLCHESTER, Vermont — Saint Michael’s College www.smcvt.edu

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